Eugene is the new Portland when it comes to amazing vegan dining in Oregon. And we very happily ate our way through town during our last visit.
First, we went to Cornbread Cafe, an all-vegan diner serving such comfort food as mac-and-cheese, southern-fried tofu, and grilled cheese sandwiches. And yes, they have amazing cornbread, served warm and dripping with vegan butter.
We visited the cafe couple of times to try as many foods as possible, though the Eugenewich was so delicious that we kept returning to this one.
On the Eugenewich is southern-fried Surata tofu, melted Daiya cheddar, deep-fried carrot slices (very thin, light, and crisp), onion rings, lettuce, tomato, and a smoky sauce on a fresh grilled bun. (Gluten-free buns are available for all sandwiches). It goes best with the crinkle fries and is unbelievably good.
We also tried the “phish sammy,” a sandwich of deep-fried breaded Surata tofu with lettuce and tomato and served with a lovely, tangy vegan tartar sauce.
Among the fun menu items is the “build your own meal” option, in which you choose an entree and two sides, with your choice of a cornbread muffin or a biscuit. We went for the southern-fried tofu with a cornbread muffin and sides of coleslaw and mac-and-cheese (made with cashew cheese). All were scrumptious. The southern-fried tofu was thickly breaded and fried to perfection, and the mac-and-cheese was rich and creamy. I loved the plate’s authentic diner feel, with its scoop of mac-and-cheese and its tiny tin cup of coleslaw — and it was a treat to have vegan ranch dipping sauce.
And, if you’ve saved any room, Cornbread’s desserts are amazing, including giant cookies, moon pies, cupcakes, cakes, pies, chocolate mousse, and much more — all made fresh daily.
It was hard to tear ourselves away from Cornbread Cafe long enough to try something new, but we’re glad we had breakfast at Eugene’s oldest vegetarian/vegan cafe, Morning Glory. The cafe is open every day from 7 a.m. to 3:30, with breakfast served all day.
It was a chilly day with rain in the forecast, so while the restaurant looked desolate on the outside, there was a wait gathering at the door, and inside was completely full and very busy.
We sampled The Fusion, a delicious scramble of tofu and veggies, topped with herbed tofu sour cream and served with a dill roll (all the breads are homemade and vegan) and herbed potatoes. UPDATE: The Fusion has been updated and is now folded into a “shredded potato shell” (aka, hash browns) and is perhaps even more delicious than the last time we enjoyed it.
We also tried the Happy Morning Sandwich, a biscuit with herbed tofu sour cream, a soy sausage patty, tofu patty, and tomato — and served with herbed potatoes with mushroom gravy green onions.
Mama’s Tofu Scramble is mexi-cali tofu scrambled with broccoli, zucchini & fresh cilantro, served with herbed glory potatoes and a choice of bread slathered with vegan butter (we highly recommend the dill roll).
For sweets, you need not look any further than Morning Glory, whose all-vegan pastry selection includes scones, muffins, breads, cakes (such as espresso chocolate cookie cake), cupcakes (such as chai spice), and cookies. You might also check out Sweet Life, which has a decent vegan selection (including, on the day we visited, chocolate mint cupcakes, peanut-chocolate bars, and peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies). You can also call ahead to order (in quantity) any vegan items you’d like. (One can never have too many vegan red velvet cupcakes, right?)